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Kingfield Stadium
Woking v
Luton Town
Tuesday, January 1st, 2013, 12 noon
Blue Square Premier League
Paul Willott
(Luton Town fan)

I have always looked forward to New Years Day football ; rather like Boxing Day games, a real tradition of festive entertainment that some in football would happily erode for the much debated "winter break" that some seem to hanker for. Many years back I had cause to drive past Woking's ground, little thinking that some ten years down the line Luton Town would be scheduled to play a league fixture there. 

Therefore I highlighted this as a fixture that would be a 'must', and the early kick-off gave me an excuse to lay off too much in the way of New Years Eve silliness.

There wasn't too much traffic on the motorways and trunk roads when I departed home, and although negotiating my way through Guildford proved a little troublesome I still found the ground at Woking without any trouble. I was mildly dismayed by the sign outside the Woking Leisure centre actively discouraging football supporters from parking there, but as I noticed a good dozen or so cars there with Luton fans engaged in the act of donning scarves and woolly hats and the nearby police van and its occupants paying no heed to them I chanced my arm and followed suit.

A short and pleasant walk to the ground itself and I was soon on the Chris Lane terrace where a queue stretched all the way back to the half-way line for the refreshment stall. I joined the queue and found it moved along fairly quickly, and there was a good selection of reasonably priced burgers and other food with a team of ladies working cheerfully flat out to serve us.

The ground is quite odd; to our left is the strikingly distinctive Leslie Gosden stand that would put many a lower league ground to shame, whilst opposite our terrace was this collection of odd looking rather ramshackle stands that looked as if some-ones grandfather had cobbled them together and might come crashing down if one was to lean too heavily upon them. Since the photograph in the guide was taken, one of these oddities has had a crude type of scaffold erected above the roof, perhaps with the thought of extra advertising space, but for the time being it simply adds to the "Heath Robinson" appearance. I half expected the grandfather flump to appear with his flumpet to give us a tune, such was their appearance; quite at odds with the new stand alongside it behind the goal. There is a modest covered terrace behind the other goal.

The atmosphere was as flat as a pancake, which I put down to the early kick-off; but then I have always maintained that the only really lively atmosphere I have ever really enjoyed at one of these festive games was a 17:45 kick-off one Boxing Day when i watched Wolves play Preston North End; as most folks may be shaking off hangovers or too much christmas pud, maybe the football authorities should make every game a 17:45 start to engender more atmosphere.

The quality of the pitch was very poor, not withstanding the inclement winter weather, it was one of the worst pitches I have seen for a while, almost like a throwback to the 1970s. If it looked poor at the kick-ff, it looked like a bomb-site by the final whistle.

The match was entertaining enough. The home side taking an early and deserved lead until Luton pegged them back with a very well taken goal. Despite much huff and puff, the once proud league club couldn't find a second goal, and in the event the part-timers grabbed two more goals of their own towards the end of the match to wrap up a well earned win.

Once back at my car, it took a little while for traffic to exit the leisure centre car park, but once clear of that it was a clear drive away.

Did I enjoy it? Course i did. Football beats staying in and watching boring old films with a hangover any day!

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